10 Enemies of Productivity

These are productivity’s ten enemies:

  1. No Goals: You need a target. Without a target, there is nothing to aim for. Without goals, you are simply drifting, reacting to whatever acts on you. Goals are what allow you to be proactive and take initiative. Without goals, you can be very busy without being productive.
  2. No Plan: A well thought-out, written plan is the map that guides your actions. Without a plan to reach your goals, the actions you take won’t get you where you want to go.
  3. No Master List: A yellow legal pad might be the right tool to track all of the many things that come into your life, but it’s not likely. You need a master list of every project, every task, and every piece of incoming information you need to take action on. Without this list, commitments are lost, and so is your productivity.
  4. No Weekly Review: Once a week (at minimum), you have to spend the time evaluating your priorities and adjusting your plans. Without spending time reviewing your priorities and making adjustments to your calendar, you can’t make progress on your most important priorities. In fact, you won’t even know what your priorities are.
  5. No Time Blocking: Part of a good weekly review is blocking the time you need to take action on your most important priorities. If you don’t take time to plan your week, then others will plan your week for you.
  6. Over-committed: Busy people get more done. Over-committed people get the wrong things done. Focus is saying no to all but the few things that really matter. Being overcommitted is to pretend that everything matters and all the choices of what to do with your limited time are equal. Commit to doing more work, but only the work that  matters.
  7. Under-committed: This isn’t having too little to do, even though that is possible. It’s not being committed enough to your goals, your dreams, and your priorities. If you want to live a productive life, you must have a fire in your belly.
  8. Procrastination: Being productive means taking action on what matters most. You procrastinate when you know what you need to do but aren’t inspired enough to take action or aren’t disciplined enough to do the work that is necessary. When you are committed to meaningful goals, even the rote actions get done.
  9. Burnout: Being productive is only sustainable when you take time away from doing the work to refresh, reset, and recharge. The more you do, the more you need time to recover. Burnout comes when you don’t take care of the only real asset through which you produce results: You.
  10. Inability to Say No: Saying no to small things is how you preserve your time for big things. Without the ability to say no, other people’s priorities will crowd out your real priorities. Being productive requires that you say no far more than you say yes.

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Filed under: Me Management, Sales 3.0

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